With Evanston City Council members still mulling their decision, the leading candidate to become the next City Manager has accepted a job elsewhere, leaving the city at square one.

The city issued a release Jan. 25 stating that the leading candidate for the job, Daniel Ramos, had notified the city that he had “accepted a prestigious position with another community.”

“As the City Council does not see a path forward with the current search, it intends to restart the search process with a new executive recruitment firm as quickly as possible,” the city’s statement said.

“Evanston City Council greatly appreciates all candidates who applied for the position and the many community members and stakeholders who have participated and provided their input throughout this process,” the statement continued.

“The City Council is committed to a community-informed search and will provide updates to the community as soon as more information becomes available.”

The two finalists – Ramos, the Deputy Chief of Staff/Deputy City Manager for the City of Baltimore, and Michael Jasso, the Deputy City Manager in Sacramento, California, and a former Cook County department head – had appeared at a town meeting Jan. 9, presenting their credentials to become Evanston’s next City Manager.

Both followed that session with appearances before citizen, business and stakeholder groups later that week, responding to questions.

On Jan. 18, the Community Alliance for Better Government, an Evanston grassroots activist group, endorsed Ramos, citing his responses on the role institutional racism has played in municipal institutions and economic inequality as a key factor in its decision.

On Jan. 19, council members met in executive session after their Rules Committee meeting. Although support was reportedly strongest for Ramos, council members arrived at no consensus choice. Under council rules, a supermajority vote – seven of 10 votes (the nine ward representatives and the mayor) – is needed for the appointment of a City Manager.

Council members were scheduled to resume discussion at an executive session after the Jan. 24 council meeting to see if consensus could be reached on Ramos’ selection.

The move marks another setback in the city’s effort to find a full-time City Manager.
Members of a former City Council had named Interim City Manager Erika Storlie to the top post in a controversial move October 2020, bypassing two outside candidates already in top manager roles elsewhere.

Just short of a year later, Storlie resigned her $225,000-per-year post.

The city then turned to California-based CPS HR to conduct an abbreviated search to fill the position, moving Kelley Gandurski, the city’s former Corporation Counsel, into the interim position until an appointment was made.

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

2 replies on “Evanston to restart search for City Manager after top candidate accepts job elsewhere”

  1. Mr. Ramos accepted a position with Harris Count, Texas, where Houston is located. His entire career has been with Baltimore, so it makes sense he would want to go to another large governmental organization. It was very surprising to me that neither finalist had experience with an Evanston-size municipality nor one with a major university. Those should be qualifications the new search begins with, along with many others.

    1. I agree that experience in a community like Evanston is key. Both of the candidates this time around had big city experience. The two external candidates the last time around had small town experience.

      If you look back to the search that brought in the last city manager you had three candidates with pretty strong and relevant experience. I think one of the guys was from Des Moines and the other one was from Cincinnati.

      Unfortunately it is clear that the current council prioritizes identity over pretty much all else, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a better pool.

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